We find ourselves at the end of another series – again! A 12-week series sounded like a long time to us when we were first enrolling as students, and I know that it sounds like a long time to some people who call to inquire about classes. However, now that we are teaching it seems like these classes fly by and before we know it we are teaching our last class of the series.
This week is the last class of our Friday night Spring Series. One of the gifts of teaching is seeing our students grow – no pun intended! They come in with a general idea about what they want for their births, and at the end of twelve weeks we get to see them working together as a team to achieve their desired birth outcome. It is great to watch the coaches transform from being bystanders in their partner’s pregnancy; to having them know that they are important and see them taking an active role in the birth of their children.
As Bradley® class students, we had an unexpected, unadvertised benefit: we learned to have better communication as a couple. We definitely emphasize teamwork now that we are instructors. Sometimes they are couple-to-couple interactions, and sometimes we practice positive communication with care providers.
I suspect communication is a cornerstone of the Bradley Method® because Dr. Bradley and the Hathaways, founders of the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth® realized that they were doing much more than teaching childbirth preparation classes. Being able to talk to your partner openly and honestly is important for the birth-day, certainly. Even more importantly, we have a lifetime of commitment to that child whose birth we are preparing for. That beautiful child deserves the best of us as parents. Being able to talk together and dialogue with your partner is definitely a good foundation for a healthy relationship that creates the security and love we provide to our children.
We learned it was important to share our thoughts with our partner, not just assume that they know we are thinking. We learned it was okay to talk about our fears. We learned how to plan and goal-set together, and then the ultimate accomplishment was achieving that goal.
Although we always deviated from our plan, we feel that the birth outcome we had with our children was the end result of our communication and teamwork. Hence the saying we have that we have had the pleasure of four honeymoons throughout the course of our marriage: our time in St. Lucia in newlyweds, plus the sheer elation that has filled the first few weeks after each birth.
Most importantly, we learned the value of praising our partner. It is so easy to find fault and criticize when we are tired and uncomfortable. It takes effort and focus to try to remember to praise our partner on a regular basis. Noticing the little things does seem to make us better partners, and when our loved one praises us, it encourages us to keep giving our best effort on a daily basis.
Given the fact that mom will probably reach a point in her labor when she is tired and/or cranky, it is important for her coach to know how she likes to be praised, which words are meaningful to her, and how to encourage her if she gets to the point where she wants to give up their plan. The coach also needs to know when the mom is really ready to change the plan and be willing to deviate and support the new plan, all the while encouraging her and helping her reach their goal of holding their child with a Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby outcome.
We understand that sharing words in front of other people is hard at first. However, speaking out loud and affirming your love is an important thing to learn to do. Bruss is a man of few words, however, he became confident in telling me just what to I needed him to say when I needed him the most. He grew unafraid to talk to me in front of other people, and given that our first three births were hospital births, I needed him to be able to communicate with me whether we were alone in the labor room or the room was filled with our care provider and their medical team.
As we prepare to say a temporary good-bye to our Friday Spring Series (we will get to see them with their adorable babies at our class reunion), we do so with the knowledge that besides learning about labor and childbirth, two more couples have been offered the opportunity to learn about each other and grow together as they prepare for one of life’s momentous occasions. It is our hope that they will take this knowledge and build on it as they welcome this child and any subsequent children to their family.
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.